One 5-pound pumpkin will yield approximately 4 1/2 cups of mashed, cooked pumpkin pulp. By comparison, a 16oz can of pumpkin yields roughly 2 cups of mashed pulp.
Once picked, a pumpkin can last up to 5 or 6 weeks, as long as it is stored in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated location.
Pumpkins used as decorations should be protected so that they don’t freeze. Freezing (which can occur during a heavy frost) will promote pumpkin decay.
Carve your Halloween pumpkin a day or so before you need it. Pumpkins decompose quickly after being cut.
Pumpkin seeds have a natural protective coating (hull). The hulls are edible, but can be tough to chew.
Pumpkin seeds are a delicious snack and are high in fiber. To prepare them to eat, wash the seeds after taking them out of your pumpkin. Pat any water off the seeds, spread them on a cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees until they are dry. After drying, sprinkle salt or other seasonings on the seeds if desired.
Pumpkin seeds can be dried in a microwave. Follow the same procedure noted above, but microwave them on high until dry.
To freeze pumpkin: Wash fruit, peel, and cut in half. Remove seeds and strings and cut into slices or cubes. Steam or boil until tender. Mash. Cool and pack into rigid containers, leaving 1/2 to 1 inch head space, and freeze. Will last up to one year.
Thaw frozen pumpkin in the top of a double boiler, season and serve as a vegetable or thaw in the fridge and use to make a pumpkin pie or pumpkin soup.
Fresh pumpkin contains a high percentage of water, and it may need to be cooked down to achieve the consistency of canned pumpkin pulp. Steamed or baked pumpkin can be heated to a simmer and stirred occasionally until some of the water is cooked away. It can also be wrapped in cheesecloth and set over a bowl for several hours to drain.